PIONEER — With Edon and North Central tied at six as the prospect of extra innings loomed, the home plate umpire declared to both teams that he wouldn’t let it end that way.
So, the Bombers and Eagles trotted back to their respective dugouts to play an extra inning under the light. Edon looked to be in control after a hit from Dawson Kiess in the top of the sixth gave the Bombers a one-run lead.
But North Central rallied in the bottom of the sixth and with the bases loaded, Ben Turner hit a single down the line to lift North Central to an 8-7 win and a split of an ACME doubleheader. Edon won the first game 11-3.
“Before the game, I told them I think they’re better than that, I think they can play better than that,” North Central coach Josh Hicks said in reference to the first game loss. “They need to play for each other and keep working hard and not give up. That right there proves why.”
Turner’s single came with a full-count after the Eagles rallied back from a one-run deficit in the sixth. He earned the win on the mound and got the game-winning hit to cap a bounce-back game for North Central.
The Bombers hit the ball well once again in the second game, but couldn’t get enough defense and pitching to pull out a win.
“We kind of fell apart there in that second game, but we are playing a lot of kids out of position,” Edon coach Preston Klingler said. “It’s tough. But at the same time, plug and fill and hopefully kids can start making plays there.”
After a four-spot by the Eagles in the first inning, Edon rallied to tie the game at four. North Central took a two-run leaded headed into the fifth, and at the time final, inning of the night. Austin Kiess hit a solo shot to right-centerfield to cut the lead to 6-5 in the fifth, as the Bombers added one more to tie the game again.
Despite the back and forth nature of the second game, the opener wasn’t nearly as kind to North Central, as Edon scored in five of the seven innings for an 11-3 win.
Aidan Muehlfeld threw six innings and allowed just three hits, as Kiess came in in the seventh to finish the game off.
But the story was the Edon bats, which sent Edon soaring ahead. It scored eight runs in the first four innings, including three in the seventh.
“I mean, it never takes us out of a game,” Klingler said. “We were down four runs there (in the second game) and we were back in it and tied the game. Having bats is just huge.”
North Central couldn’t keep up with the torrid pace of the Edon offense, which kept continuous pressure throughout the night. Despite a Jack Bailey two-run home run, North Central was only able to manage those runs until the seventh inning.
It wasn’t Edon’s bats which forced a split, as Turner’s single down the line was the offense North Central needed in game two.
“They came out hitting in that first game and just buried us,” Hicks said. “We came out in the second game and we were ready to play. We did a better job, we did a much better job.”